Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Sep. 2008


Education league comes out against Eyman’s traffic measure

And so it begins….

The real “threat” of Initiative 985 is that it would shift money that now goes into the state General Fund to pay for schools, prisons, etc. into a special Traffic Congestion Relief account.

That’s about $120 million a year because it would take 15 percent of the sales tax on vehicle sales.

Tim Eyman, I-985’s sponsor, is pushing congestion relief, which is mostly a bogus issue. The state already spends $1 billion to $2 billion a year, every year, on projects that could be considered “congestion relief.”

But he’s tried to make it more attractive to voters by saying I-985 will open carpool lanes during off-peak hours and by putting forth another sorta phony issue: taking 1/2 percent of project costs that he implies are now spent on public art and putting that in the new account, too.

The latter issue is 95 percent straw man. Most of the public art projects you see that are related to transportation have nothing to do with the state Department of Transportation. More than likely, those are Sound Transit or other transit agency projects. Sound Transit has a 1 percent public art set aside for construction projects, except for the really expensive tunneling jobs.

DOT spokesman Lloyd Brown said the last time DOT spent money on art was 7 to 9 years ago.

The last WSDOT capital project that had a public art component was the Spokane Eastern Region building in 99-01 biennium. Art was an interior sculpture and wall art determined through the outlined MOU process. Our planned Olympic Region building project will also have a public art element as part of the project.

DOT’s public art requirement is for buildings, not highways.

The real threat of I-985 is the money it takes out of the general fund, and the League of Education Voters is only one of dozens of groups who won’t like that.

Support our schools,
vote NO on I-985.

The education community urges a NO vote against Initiative 985.

"I-985 claims to reduce traffic congestion, but its major effect will almost certainly be to take away money from classrooms," said Lisa Macfarlane, co-founder of the League of Education Voters. "Our schools need every dollar they currently get to prepare our children for college, job training programs and the workforce."

Read more »


Bunney takes Pierce County exec campaign to television

Pierce County executive candidate Shawn Bunney has been running an ad on cable channels like ESPN, CNN and Fox News. It’s the first TV ad in the executive’s race that I’m aware of (though someone correct me if I’m wrong).

The spot features an endorsement from Tacoma City Councilman (and county employee) Rick Talbert. You can watch it at Bunney’s web site.


State’s largest public employee union ratifies contract

Workers finished voting at noon today. The contracts cover more than 36,000 state and college workers.

I wonder if the prospect of a $3.2 billion budget deficit for 2009-11 had any bearing on the rapid ratification of the contract. Workers may figure this is no time to dicker.

Now, it will be up to the Legislature, which votes up or down on the wage portion of the contract. They can’t chance the 2 percent in 2009 and 2 percent in 2010. If lawmakers vote it down, it’s back to the bargaining table.

More on this later.

From: The Washington Federation of State Employees

Contracts covering 36,000 state employees ratified
CONTACT: Tim Welch

The largest state employees union has ratified the contract covering 33,000 state agency workers, plus two other contracts covering 150 at Washington State University and another covering 3,000 workers at 15 colleges and universities.

Electronic balloting by internet and phone closed at 12 noon, today, Monday, Sept. 29.

All ratified contracts include across-the-board raises of at least 2 percent in each year of the contract. The exact percentage and effective dates vary by contract. The contracts also maintained the current employee share of health insurance premiums at 12 percent.

Read more »


Evergreen State delegation votes 5-4 on the bailout bill

From Les Blumenthal in our D.C. bureau:

Washington state’s three Republican House members along with Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee voted against the $700 billion financial bailout package today.

In addition to Inslee, Republican Reps. Dave Reichert of Auburn, Doc Hastings of Pasco and Cathy McMorris Rogers of Deer Lake opposed the measure negotiated by congressional leaders and the White House.

The measure was defeated 228-205.

"I was surprised, but not shocked," said Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair. "There was a gentleman’s agreement that we would put up 140 votes and they (the GOP) would put up

Read more »


Palin party at Maxwell’s Speakeasy

Looking for a Palin party?

Fans of the Republican veep nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, plan to gather Thursday evening at Maxwell’s Speakeasy + Lounge in Tacoma to watch her debate Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic veep hopeful.

Here are the details. Note that the organizers advertise door prizes. I wonder what they might be.

Come and show a big Pierce County support for

Sarah Palin!


Date: Thursday October 2nd

Time: 5:30 PM Registration opens

Debate begins at 6:00

Read more »


Opposition campaign happy to forward Seattle Times editorial against Sound Transit, Part Deux

Seattle newspaper is concerned about the sales tax hike and delayed gratification.

I didn’t realize the Seattle Times had opposed the first $18 billion measure last year. They are again. And they note that King County Executive Ron Sims is still opposed because he wants more buses right away.

Here is the Seattle Times editorial.


Groups says: Check your voter registration

Since Election Day is too late to find out you are not registered to vote or there is some other foul-up to prevent you from voting, a pair of organizations suggest you do it now.

The Micah Project and America in Solidarity of Tacoma have pegged October 1 as “National Guarantee Your Vote Day.” They suggest checking with county elections officials to make sure there are no problems with your registration.

The groups are playing off problems in the 2000 and 2004 elections in which voters in other states were unable to vote. They believe that the problems

Read more »


Gregoire stops work on paid family leave program

The Olympian reports that Gov. Chris Gregoire suspended work on the paid family leave program this week due to the struggling economy. She announced it as evidence of her cost-cutting measures in last night’s debate with Republican challenger Dino Rossi.

The program hadn’t been implemented yet because Democrats couldn’t work out a way to pay for it. That’s gotten even more difficult as the revenue forecasts worsen.

Here’s a link to The Olympian’s story.